MOTIVATE ME: God’s Solution for Loneliness

Motivate Me

“But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength” (2 Timothy 4:17a NIV).

The Bible encourages us to consider several things when we grapple with loneliness:

First, focus on the needs of others. We can choose to turn our eyes toward other people, instead of staying focused on ourselves. And we can look for specific ways to serve them. The apostle Paul focused on telling more people about Jesus: “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it” (2 Timothy 4:17a NIV).

Second, focus on your purpose. Even when the apostle Paul was isolated in a prison, he never stopped living out his purpose. He kept telling others about Jesus. In fact, while under house arrest in Rome, he wrote many of the letters that are now part of the New Testament.

Third, focus on supporting others. Instead of thinking, “I’m so lonely,” say, “Father, help me be a friend to people who need a friend. Help me to help lonely people.” That’s an effective antidote for loneliness.

You can help others become rich in relationships by giving them the gift of you.

Talk It Over

  • Talk about the significance of this verse: “But the Lord stood at my side” (2 Timothy 4:17a NIV).
  • How can living out your purpose help you with loneliness?
  • What are some ways you can reach out and support other people who might be lonely?

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Bless you,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

 

MOTIVATE ME: God Is Real, No Matter How You Feel

Motivate Me

“The Lord has hidden himself from his people, but I trust him and place my hope in him” (Isaiah 8:17 GNT).

It is easy to worship God when things are going great in your life — when he has provided food, friends, family, health, and happy situations. But circumstances are not always pleasant. How do you worship God then? What do you do when God seems a million miles away?

The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during a trial, trusting him when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving him when he seems distant.

Friendships are often tested by separation and silence; you are divided by physical distance or you are unable to talk. In your friendship with God, you won’t always feel close to him.

Philip Yancey has wisely noted, “Any relationship involves times of closeness and times of distance, and in a relationship with God, no matter how intimate, the pendulum will swing from one side to the other.”

That’s when worship gets difficult.

To mature your friendship, God will test it with periods of seeming separation — times when it seems as if he has abandoned or forgotten you. God feels a million miles away. St. John of the Cross referred to these days of spiritual dryness, doubt, and estrangement from God as “the dark night of the soul.” Henri Nouwen called them “the ministry of absence.” A. W. Tozer called them “the ministry of the night.” Others refer to “the winter of the heart.”

Besides Jesus, David probably had the closest friendship with God of anyone. God took pleasure in calling him “a man after my own heart” (see 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22).

Yet David frequently complained of God’s apparent absence:

  • “Lord, why are you standing aloof and far away? Why do you hide when I need you the most?”(Psalm 10:1 TLB).
  • “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help?”(Psalm 22:1 NLT, second edition).
  • “Why have you abandoned me?” (Psalm 43:2a GNT; see also Psalm 44:23; 74:11; 88:14; 89:49).

Of course, God hadn’t really left David, and he doesn’t leave you. He has promised repeatedly, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

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Talk It Over

  • What practical steps can you take to help you worship God even when you’re in pain or in a trial?
  • What do you think God wants you to learn during these times?
  • What are some of God’s promises that can give you hope and encouragement?

Bless you,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

 

MOTIVATE ME: You’re Alive Because God Wants to Love You

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“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it ave him great pleasure” (Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT, second edition).

A while back, a man came into my office and said, “I’m a Christian, but I don’t feel like I’m going anywhere in my spiritual growth. I’m kind of stuck in neutral.”

I said, “What do you think the problem is?”

He said, “I think my problem is I just don’t love God enough.”

I said, “That’s not your problem. Your problem is not that you don’t love God enough. Your problem is that you don’t understand how much he loves you.”

Love is always a response to love. The Bible says, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NIV). When you say, “I don’t love God,” it’s because you don’t understand just how much he really loves you.

To understand your life’s purpose and calling, you have to begin with God’s nature. God is love. Love is the essence of his nature. The only reason there is love in the universe is because of God. Ants and snails do not love, but you were made in God’s image, so you can love.

The reason you are alive is because God wanted to love you. The first purpose of your life is to be loved by God! Yes, it is important to serve, obey, and trust him, but your first purpose is to love him.

Let this sink in: Your first duty is not to do anything but just be loved by God.

Bless you,

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(Source: Rick Warren)

 

MOTIVATE ME: 3 Things Jesus Tells Us about Worry

Motivate Me

Jesus had a lot to say about worry.

He came into an unstable and unpredictable world. He lived in an agricultural society where one summer’s drought could wipe out crops for the winter. He hung out with fishermen, who might fish all night long and catch nothing to sell or bring home to family. And Jesus knew the human heart and the temptations presented by the cares of this life. So he gave his disciples some excellent instruction on worry in Matthew 6.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (25)

First, Jesus says God gave us our human life and our bodies without us even asking. Human life and our physical bodies are incredibly valuable. Our life is much more valuable than the food we put on the table; our body far more valuable than the shirt we put on. If God gave us life, which is so very valuable, will he not give us food, which is of far lesser value? If God gave us these bodies which are fearfully and wonderfully made, will he not give us clothes to cover them? And even further, if God has given us eternal life, will he not provide for our temporal life?

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (26)

Jesus reminds us that God faithfully provides for dumb animals. Birds don’t sow or reap or store their food in barns—and they don’t fret about whether they’ll have enough for tomorrow or to get through the winter. Yet God feeds them. And Jesus tells us that humans, the crown of God’s creation, the only creatures made in God’s image, are of much more value than birds. If God provides for birds, then surely he’ll provide for those he made in his own image. Furthermore, will not God especially provide for those he bought with the blood of his Son?
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? (27)

Worry does absolutely no good. It won’t bring in money, food, or clothing. Worry only has negative results: it chokes the word of God and distracts us from God. It is unbelief, the opposite of faith. And it leads to more fear and anxiety. And the different scenarios we play out in our minds can’t prevent a single thing from happening. And besides that, most of the things we spend so much time fretting about won’t happen anyway.

To sum up:

So don’t worry, trust your heavenly Father who cares for you.

Bless you,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: BibleStudyTools)

 

MOTIVATE ME: Four Steps to Make God’s Word a Habit

Motivate Me

“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31b NASB).

It’s a really important step to commit to reading your Bible regularly for a short period, maybe a few weeks. It’s a great way to get started, but you should never leave it there. Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31b NASB). It’s the long-term commitment to learning from Jesus and his Word that makes us his disciples.

How do you continue in the Word and stay connected with Jesus through his Word for the long term?

  1. Make the decision to do it. It starts with your commitment. Don’t wait for a better time to make God’s Word a regular part of your life. Start your commitment today.
  2. Make a declaration. Announce your intentions to others. Hold yourself accountable. If you keep your commitment to God a secret, it’s easier to slip up.
  3. Make a determination. Don’t allow anything to knock you off your commitment. Be absolutely determined to make this a permanent habit in your life, particularly in the early months. If you start skipping days, it’ll be much harder to stay committed to God’s Word.
  4. Double up. Get a spiritual partner to come alongside you for support and encouragement. This is someone with whom you can share what you learn in your quiet times. It could be someone in your small group, a friend, or a family member. The Bible says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 NLT).

Spending time with God should be a lifelong habit, not a passing fancy. Research shows you need to do something for about six weeks straight to build a habit. Make God’s Word part of your life today — and for the rest of your life.

Bless you,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

 

MOTIVATE ME: God’s Word Will Unlock Your Potential

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“You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31b-32 NLT).

Truth be told, you can’t even fathom your full potential. Only your Creator can. Only God, the one who made you, knows all you are capable of being. Your parents, your spouse, your friends, your boss — they only get a glimpse of your potential.

Only God knows what you’re truly capable of doing and who you’re capable of becoming.

You use such a small fraction of your brain. You don’t need more intelligence. You need to use more of the intelligence you already have!

Most people live for the approval of others. They spend all of their time worrying about what others think of them. Your life has been limited by replaying tapes in your head of people who lied to you. They may not even mean to lie to you, but they still do. They’ve told you that you can’t do something or that you shouldn’t even bother because you’re not worth much anyway.

You’ve played these tapes over and over in your mind. But they’re lies! The people who made those statements about you have no idea about your potential. You have to talk to your Creator for that.

Only he knows what he can do through your life. And only he can unlock that potential. How does he do it?

The Lord frees us through his Word. Jesus said this in John 8:31-32: “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (NLT). God’s Word will unlock all you’ve been made to do and be. Through it, you’ll be able to do things you never thought possible.

How do you do that?

  1. Learn God’s Word. God won’t unlock your potential until you actually open the Bible and learn it. You won’t unlock potential by osmosis. You’ll start to do it by learning what the Bible says.
  2. Accept God’s Word. The Bible has to be the authority in your life. You may not like what you’re reading, but — if you want God’s best for your life — you need to accept what it says as the final authority for how you live.
  3. Obey God’s Word. You can’t just learn God’s Word and accept God’s Word. You have to do what the Bible teaches. You don’t get blessed for the parts of the Bible you know. You get blessed for the parts of the Bible you do.

You were made for much more than you ever imagined. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “What God has planned for people who love him is more than eyes have seen or ears have heard. It has never even entered our minds!” (CEV).

So open up God’s Word, and get ready to do what only God can imagine.

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Bless you,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

 

MOTIVATE ME: The Truth Will Set You Free

Motivate Me

“Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God — truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body” (Ephesians 4:21-25 NLT, second edition).

The secret to personal change is not willpower. The secret is to know and face the truth. You must know and face the truth about yourself, your relationships, and your own nature if you want to change anything in your life.

Why is it necessary to learn the truth before anything can change in your life? Because behind every self-defeating habit in your life is a lie that you believe. If you get in debt, it’s because you believed some lies like, “I can spend and get away with it” or “I can always pay it back.” You might have overestimated how much you were going to make, or you believed the lie that you needed a much bigger house.

But do you? Are you sure it’s the truth? Can you prove it’s the truth? Are you absolutely certain that what you believe you’ve said about your finances is true? What about your relationships? What about the things you say to yourself about yourself? Is the way you think about your past or about some event the truth, or is the truth what God says about it?

The Bible teaches that personal change starts with truth. It is the truth that sets you free! The Apostle Paul says, “Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him . . .” (Ephesians 4:21 NLT, second edition). Who is the truth? Jesus, and because Jesus is the truth, he will always tell you the truth. His Word is the truth. The Bible is his Word, and that means the Bible is truth (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

What you hear on television or read in books isn’t always going to help you, because it’s not always the truth. Have you learned that? But what God tells you is always going to be the truth. God’s Word shows you how to get back to the life you were created to live, and then it shows you how to stay on God’s path.

This is why it is so important for you to have a daily quiet time in the Word of God: Change requires learning the truth. As long as you build your life on a foundation of lies, misconceptions, deceptions, or half-truths, you will never change. But when you face the truth and respond to the truth, you will begin to see change in your life.

Bless you,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

 

MOTIVATE ME: Becoming Like Jesus Is a Slow Process

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“This will continue until we are . . . mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him” (Ephesians 4:13 CEV).

Becoming like Christ is a long, slow process of growth. Spiritual maturity is neither instant nor automatic; it is a gradual, progressive development that will take the rest of your life.

Referring to this process, Paul said, “This will continue until we are . . . mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him” (Ephesians 4:13 CEV).

You are a work in progress. Your spiritual transformation in developing the character of Jesus will take the rest of your life, and even then it won’t be completed here on Earth. It will only be finished when you get to Heaven or when Jesus returns.

At that point, whatever unfinished work on your character is left will be wrapped up. The Bible says that when we are finally able to see Jesus perfectly, we will become perfectly like him: “We are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is” (1 John 3:2 NLT, second edition).

Much confusion in the Christian life comes from ignoring the simple truth that God is far more interested in building our character than he is anything else. We worry when God seems silent on specific issues such as “What career should I choose?”

The truth is, there are many different careers that could be in God’s will for your life. What God cares about most is that whatever you do, you do in a Christlike manner (1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Corinthians 16:14; Colossians 3:17, 23).

God is far more interested in who you are than in what you do. We are human beings, not human doings. God is much more concerned about your character than your career, because you will take your character into eternity, not your career.

God’s purpose is to make us like him before he takes us to Heaven. This is our greatest privilege, our immediate responsibility, and our ultimate destiny.

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Bless you,

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(Source: Rick Warren)

 

MOTIVATE ME: God Is Aware, and He Cares

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“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13 NIV).

God is a caring, loving, compassionate father. He loves you more than you will ever understand. He loves you more than you can ever comprehend. God is love, and he made you to love you. He is loving toward you in everything that he does, and his compassion is his most outstanding quality. God is a caring father.

The Bible says in Psalm 103:13, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him” (NIV). He cares about everything in your life — compassionately.

Most of the disciples were professional fishermen. One day when they were out fishing, Jesus got tired and curled up in one end of the boat and went to sleep. When a storm came up, it shouldn’t have bothered the disciples. As fishermen, they were used to storms. But this must have been a big one, because they got scared. The ship was rocking and rolling, and water was coming into the boat. They were frantic and woke up Jesus to ask him one of the most important questions in life: “Lord, don’t you care?”

You and I ask that question of God all the time and in a thousand ways: “God, did you see that doctor’s report? Don’t you care? Do you see what a mess my marriage is in? Don’t you care? Do you see how little money we’ve got in the bank and all the bills we’ve got? Don’t you care? Do you see how my kids are struggling in school? Don’t you care? You know this fear that grips my mind that I can’t seem to get rid of. Don’t you care?”

The answer is yes, God cares. In fact, he cares more than you care. He wants to help more than you want help. He knows what will help you more than you know what will help you. He is aware, and he cares.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

If you knew and felt how much your heavenly Father cares compassionately and constantly about you, you’d have to love him back. If you feel like God is a million miles away, it’s because you don’t understand the kind of caring Father he really is. That understanding is the first step to inner peace.

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Bless you,

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(Source: Rick Warren)

 

MOTIVATE ME: How Can I Get Out of This Mess?

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“Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24b-25a NLT, second edition).

Here is the testimony of a Chinese Christian: “I walked through the road of life and had fallen into a great ditch. The ditch was filled with depression, discouragement, and sin. As I lay in that ditch, Mohammed came along and said, ‘It’s your fault you’re in the ditch. You offended Allah, and this is your just punishment.’ Then Marx came by and said, ‘You’re in the ditch because of class warfare. You must revolt.’ But after the government changed, I was still in my ditch. Then Buddha came along and said, ‘You’re not really in that ditch. You just think you’re there. It’s all an illusion of the mind. Be at peace.’ Then Confucius came by and said, ‘Here are the 10 steps of self-attainment by which you can get out of your ditch. If you will struggle, you will climb out eventually.’ But as much as I struggled and strained, I couldn’t get out of the ditch, because it was too deep.

“Then one day, Jesus Christ came by and saw me in my ditch. Without a word, he took off his white robe and got down in the muddy ditch with me. Then he lifted me up with his strong arms and got me out of the ditch. Thank God that Jesus did for me what I could not do for myself.”

Jesus did for you what you could not do for yourself.

If you want healing in your life, you have to believe that Christ can change you. Romans 7:24-25 says, “Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord” (NLT, second edition).

The answer to your problem is a person. Who’s going to be lord of your life? Who’s going to call the shots? You or Jesus Christ? When you’re mastered by him, you can master your problems.

God has the power you were lacking. He’ll help you out.

Remember that God will give you the grace to forgive as you walk in faith with him.

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Bless you,

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(Source: Rick Warren)